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Article

Teacher Education in Poland  

Joanna Madalinska-Michalak

Teacher education in Poland is viewed as a lifelong journey, encompassing preservice training, induction, and ongoing professional development. The primary emphasis is on empowering teachers as perpetual learners and tailoring their education to meet individual needs, as well as the needs of educational institutions and students. In Poland, teacher education is deeply integrated with higher education and has been shaped by substantial reforms. The current landscape of teacher education in Poland is a result of significant reforms initiated by the state, aligning with the Bologna process. The Bologna process aims to harmonize higher education systems across Europe by establishing the European Higher Education Area. This facilitates student and staff mobility, enhances inclusivity and accessibility, and boosts the competitiveness of European higher education globally. The changes in teacher education in Poland have also emphasized quality assurance, qualifications frameworks, recognition processes, and more. The overarching objective is to elevate the quality of teaching and learning. Comparative analysis of Poland’s teacher education system and international findings suggests several policy initiatives that should be implemented. These initiatives can be broadly categorized into two sets: strategies aimed at improving the status and competitiveness of the teaching profession, and targeted approaches for attracting and retaining specific types of teachers, particularly in specific schools. To enhance teacher education in Poland, recommendations include limiting the number of teacher education candidates based on demand, increasing funding, and implementing more selective admission processes within higher education institutions. Moreover, strengthening support for teacher mentors and improving the socioprofessional position of teachers is seen as essential. Attracting and recruiting the best teachers in Poland is a critical challenge, particularly in the face of emerging trends and teacher shortages. To address this issue effectively, it is essential to improve the image of the teaching profession, enhance working conditions, and provide incentives for aspiring educators. Additionally, more flexible teacher education programs that accommodate a diverse range of candidates and prepare teachers for the changing educational landscape are necessary to ensure a continuous supply of high-quality teachers.

Article

Gendered Concerns of Improved Female Participation in Indian Higher Education  

Mona Khare

Gender gaps in education and training are already shown to be having far-reaching effects on women’s economic participation. These are only likely to grow in the new era of knowledge-centric economies. Specific efforts at mainstreaming women in this new age through their inclusion in higher levels of education and skills training are imperative. The situation in India is more complex given its rising numbers and increasing diversities on campuses, with sociocultural and regional connotations adding to existing biases. The data on the status and trends reveal gender disparity in higher education in India in explicit and implicit forms further reflecting on women’s work participation. The disparities are more explicitly visible when seen through the adverse graduate population ratio, a long-existing adverse female participation ratio more particularly in certain streams/courses and implicitly through their career progression, and an adverse female employment ratio in the majority of Indian states. The policy focus so far has been on gender-targeted initiatives and expenditures to increase female access and enrollment in higher education. As a result, while gender gaps in access have closed, higher education spaces remain gendered with poor and biased labor-market outcomes. The interventions need to be made at three levels: gender equality in technical, vocational, and job-oriented education; gender balance in elite institutions; and gender sensitization and services within and outside campuses. The focus needs to align with equal opportunity initiatives and expenditures. There is also a need for region-specific interventions through spatial mapping at a subnational level and a greater focus on understanding the concepts, issues, and processes of gender balancing in higher education.

Article

Systemic Supports for Antiracist Practice in International Baccalaureate Classrooms  

Whitney M. Hegseth

When considering how to (re)build educational systems for equity, one might explore the potential of a system’s supports to facilitate changes in perceptions and pedagogy in classrooms, so that both become increasingly antiracist. A disciplinary incident in an International Baccalaureate (IB) elementary classroom in Washington, D.C., helps illustrate how the IB system’s educational infrastructure can support teachers in (re)framing and responding to problems in their classrooms. The infrastructure that may support such (re)framing includes system-level guidance around (a) outcomes, (b) instructional methods, and (c) the use of local resources. Although the IB system is not yet an antiracist system, its educational infrastructure can support a transformation in perception and pedagogy for IB teachers. This existing infrastructure, then, has the potential to help IB teachers and schools move toward increasingly antiracist practice. Exploring such a synergy between infrastructure and antiracist practice may help the IB system, and other educational systems, in their efforts to (re)design system supports to redress long-standing inequities in schools and society.

Article

Mestiza Methodology as a Hybrid Research Design  

Amanda Jo Cordova

Chicana feminists such as Maylei Blackwell, Cherrie Moraga, and Anna Nieto-Gómez of the 1960s Chicano Movement called for a gendered critique of racial activism mired in the stultification of Chicana leadership, ultimately galvanizing epistemology and theory grounded in a Chicana way of knowing. In particular, the introduction of a Chicana Feminist Epistemology in the 1990s to the field of education centered the reconciliation and healing of education, knowledge, and knowledge holders dehumanized by the exclusionary logics of colonialism pervasive in educational spaces. Consequently, crafting research methodologies of a Chicana hybrid nature, both locating and healing the fractured embodiment of knowledge educational actors draw upon, is critical to the groundwork of a more socially just educational system. Focused on the hybridity or the duality of knowing and the damage created by the colonial separation of such knowledge from knowledge holders, methodologies must be curated to locate and fuse back together what was torn apart. Mestiza Methodology was developed to locate the liminal space in which Chicanas collectively recount experiences leading to the separation of who they are and what they know in the academic arena as a means to recover, reclaim, and reconcile oneself to the pursuit of an education decolonized.

Article

Governance in Higher Education  

Jung C. Shin and Glen A. Jones

Governance has become a commonly used and studied concept within the scholarship of higher education, in large part because the term is defined broadly to include the relationships between institutions and the state, the development of system-level policies and the influence of external stakeholders, as well as institutional decision-making arrangements and structures. The concept is therefore understood as involving both multiple levels of power and authority and multiple agents and actors. It has increasingly been used as an umbrella concept in the analysis of major policy changes and reforms that are central to the study of higher education, including funding, quality assurance, and accountability. Neoliberalism and the adoption of New Public Management have transformed the governance structures and arrangements within many systems by valorizing the role of markets, strengthening the role of institutional managers as the state-centered systems decentralize elements of authority, focusing attention on institutional performance measures, and linking performance to state funding mechanisms. Government coordination of higher education has become increasing complex given the development of multiple institutional types (institutional diversity) and the positioning of higher education as a core component of national research and innovation systems. In many systems, coordination now includes multiple agencies. Institution-level governance has also been transformed in many jurisdictions with structural arrangements that reinforce the importance of central management operating under the oversight of a corporate board representing external interests and stakeholders. There has been a general decline in the influence and authority associated with traditional collegial decision processes. Research has highlighted challenges related to the understanding of governance effectiveness and the relationship between governance reform and institutional performance. There has also been an increasing interest in comparative international scholarship to identify common trends, although there is also an increasing recognition of how governance has been influenced by differences in the history, traditions, and sociopolitical contexts of national systems. A multitude of issues are deserving of greater attention within governance scholarship, including the influence of major political shifts within national governments, international rankings, and the quest for the improvement of institutional performance on system- and institution-level governance.

Article

Institutional Dis/Continuities in Higher Education Changes During the Soviet and Post-Soviet Periods in Kazakhstan  

Gulzhan Azimbayeva

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) higher education system has undergone radical change since the perestroika period—the Gorbachev period (1985–1991). Perestroika means restructuring in Russian. In this period, the institutional context of higher education was fundamentally transformed by the major upheavals of the political and socioeconomic institutions of the USSR. The changes in the USSR higher education had a major impact on the higher education of Kazakhstan—a former Republic of the USSR. Thus, to understand the changes in higher education in Kazakhstan, it is important to locate them in the stages of the collapse of the USSR. It could be argued that the “institutional dis/continuities” theory would allow a careful examination of the educational changes in the postsocialist context. The “institutional dis/continuities” of the perestroika period draw on path-dependency and critical juncture concepts within historical institutionalism theory. Perestroika period can be seen as a critical juncture in the historical development of higher education. Also, the policy choices which were made during the perestroika period could establish further path-dependencies in policy-making.

Article

School Tourism in Southern Africa  

Kathleen Smithers and Joanne Ailwood

Philanthropic funding is commonplace in schools in Southern Africa and is shaped by philanthropic offerings through philanthropic foundations or for-profit low-fee private school chains. In particular, some schools are funded by tourism ventures. Tourism in schools takes two main forms: the introduction of tourist funds into schooling, and the introduction of tourists themselves to schooling. Tourist funds in schooling arise from a number of different forms of tourism such as community-based tourism, sustainable tourism, developmentourism, and philanthropic tourism. These terms encompass various forms of tourism in which funding of a community is a byproduct of tourism. In terms of tourists in schools, there are various forms of such tourism including volunteer tourism, service-learning tourism, or “slum” reality tourism. School-based tourism has developed as a version of tourism which incorporates elements of all these forms of tourism. One form of school-based tourism is the school tour. In the school tour, tourists are guided by children to visit and enter every classroom in the school and are permitted to engage with students in a range of ways, from taking photographs of the children, classrooms, and grounds to helping with schoolwork or teaching an impromptu lesson. While school-based tourism can be viewed as a valuable economic undertaking for schools, for example, through funding of capital works and teacher salaries, such tourism can also create contradictions and dilemmas for the teachers and children.

Article

Inclusive Education as a Human Right  

Ignacio Calderón-Almendros and Gerardo Echeita-Sarrionandia

Inclusive education has been internationally recognized as a fundamental human right for all, without exception. This international recognition seeks to address the dramatic inequality in current societies, since the enjoyment of the right to education for many disadvantaged people depends on it being inclusive. The recognition and enjoyment of this right requires a detailed analysis of the meaning and scope of inclusive education, as well as of the barriers and the main challenges faced. The consideration of inclusive education as a right, with its moral and legal implications, has been achieved to a large extent thanks to the political impact of diverse association movements of people with (dis)abilities. Paradoxically, many students with disabilities continue to be systematically segregated into special schools and classrooms, which violates their right to inclusive education. There is therefore much to learn from this contradiction. A lot also needs to be done to ensure the equal dignity and rights of people that experience exclusion and segregation associated with gender, social class, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity, ability, etc. To this end, it is important to conceptually delimit the neoliberal domestication of a profoundly transformative term. The historical evolution of the recognition of inclusive education as a human right needs to be understood. There is also a need to consider the strength of the scientific evidence supporting it in order to counter certain views that question its relevance, despite them having been soundly refuted. Untangling these knots enables a more situated and realistic analysis to address some of the problems to be tackled in the implementation of inclusive education. This is a social and political endeavor that must break away from the market-oriented logic in education systems. It involves accepting that it is a fundamental right to be guaranteed through collective responsibility.

Article

Current Issues and Trends in India’s School Education  

Vimala Ramachandran

Discussing the heterogeneous nature of Indian society and the management of school education is not only diverse, but it is characterized by inequality at all levels. The Right to Education Act (RTE) of 2009 attempted to address these inequalities, however, given the quasifederal nature of the distribution of powers to make laws pertaining to education and unequal access to financial and human resources, implementation has been uneven. The variations are particularly significant in dropout rates, secondary education completion rates, teacher deployment and in-school availability, inclusion/exclusion of children belonging to different communities/castes and religions, and most importantly, gender equality. There is considerable variation in school size and pupil–teacher ratios—with some states reporting a large percentage of single teacher schools and small schools with enrolment of fewer than 50 students at the elementary level. This is not the case in secondary and higher secondary schools. If all children entering grade one wish to move on to higher secondary, there are not enough schools to accommodate them. While there are over 814,000 primary schools, the number of secondary schools falls sharply to 22,700 and higher secondary to just 12,400. The systemic barriers to access beyond the elementary level remains a big concern in many states of India. Equally, there are also sharp rural–urban differences—with rural and remote areas reporting skewed ratios of elementary to secondary and higher secondary schools. Children drop out in different states for a wide range of reasons; however, in the last 10 years, it is generally accepted that poor learning at the elementary stage is one of the most important reasons. Evidence from qualitative research studies reveals that the cumulative burden of poor learning is carried forward from grade one, leading to the inability of many children to cope with secondary education. Several scholars have argued that embedded inequality and exclusion are serious issues—which are most evident in learning outcomes. The issues of teacher availability, teacher preparation and certification, and the persistent problem of nonavailability of teachers—including the problem of teacher absence—are also explored. Notwithstanding these challenges, the net attendance rates have been going up steadily since the 1990s—with some improvement in rural–urban gaps. Many more teachers have also been recruited. The gender gap has been closing, albeit less effectively in some states. Many of the issues discussed in this article have been exacerbated during the Covid-19 lockdown. As this article covers the period before 2020, these have not been captured.

Article

The Palestinian K-12 Education System: History, Structure, Challenges, and Opportunities  

Anwar Hussein, Shelley Wong, and Anita Bright

The Palestinian education system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) reflects a long and complex history of control by other countries: the colonial British Mandate over historic Palestine (1917–1948); the Jordanian government over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem (1948–1967); the Egyptian government over the Gaza Strip (1948–1967); and the Israeli occupation (1967–1993). This external control has resulted in multiple forms of apartheid, including restrictions on freedom of movement as a means of control over Palestinian lands and people. Beginning in 1967 at the end of the Six-Day War, the Israeli government took control of Palestinian educational systems, controlling the entire educational experience of Palestinian students, including curriculum, construction, and maintenance of schools, and employment of educators. In 1993, after the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority took charge of the Palestinian education system. Although with the development of the first Palestinian curriculum, the Palestinian Authority has made many innovative breakthroughs in education, they are severely restricted by the Israeli occupation. They do not have the right to build or renovate schools (or other buildings) without Israeli building permits. The current apartheid system is a multifaceted economic blockade, with walls, checkpoints, and armed military guards denying Palestinian students and teachers access to a range of essential services, such as education and healthcare. All of these restrictions of movement and encroachments by the Israeli government and military represent violations of the United Nations human rights conventions. Given its history, the Palestinian educational system faces many challenges, including the marginalized status of the teaching profession, the quality of teacher education programs, implementation of the education strategic plan, and others. Despite the numerous systemic challenges and obstacles under occupation, Palestinian educators continue to demonstrate tremendous tenacity, creativity, innovation, and optimism.